The properties: Grand Chêne et Pelouse.

Description

The top of the Chiètres hill is mainly occupied by two large 19th century estates, the Grand Chêne - currently privately owned - and the Pelouse.

In the 19th century, the Grand Chêne and the Pelouse were the most opulent properties in Bex. The Pelouse was acquired by a Russian nobleman in 1886, who designed the park. From 1919 to 1946, the estate became a boarding school for young girls; Indira Gandhi, who later became Prime Minister of India, attended the school. The property now houses the convent of the Sisters of Saint Maurice, built in 1962 in a decidedly "functional" style. The Grand Chêne estate was bought between 1872 and 1874 by Maria del Carmen de Huici. This wealthy Chilean citizen, seduced by the natural beauty and charm of the hillside, had a new house built to replace an old farmhouse, probably the present mansion, which still bears the name Grand Chêne. The building has an imposing volume, with a hipped roof covered with slates. The facade is simple and elegant, in the classical tradition, with dormer windows arranged symmetrically around the entrance. The material of the frames is granite, characteristic of the period of its construction. Inside, the marble fireplace in the living room and the moulded decorations give it an air of nobility. Maria del Carmen de Huici sold her house in 1884 to Nicolas Sterchbaschoff (a retired Russian artillery captain) who remained the owner until his death in 1894. In 1901, the Grand Chêne became part of the La Pelouse estate when Marthe Louguinine bought it and had major work carried out in 1908 and 1909. The other part of the hill, to the west, is occupied by La Pelouse, bought in 1880 by Wladimir Louguinine, a Russian nobleman, a renowned scientist and chemist with a passion for botany. It is to him that we owe the magnificent trees that occupy the entire property: cedars of Lebanon, Himalayan cedars, Weymouth pines, redwoods, ginkos and a magnificent chestnut grove that is still exploited by the sisters today. The entire park is still carefully tended by the religious community, which also grows flowers and vegetables using organic farming methods. In addition to a dwelling house and farm buildings, Wladimir Luginin had a laboratory built where he continued his research. He died in 1911. With the war and the Russian Revolution, his widow, dispossessed of her land in her country of origin - including a large area in the Caucasus - had to give up the property. It passed through various hands and was rented to Lydie Hemmerlin (1874-1974) who set up a private boarding school, the Ecole Nouvelle (1919-1946). Among the pupils was a young Indian girl named Indira Gandhi (daughter of Pandit Nehru). When she became Prime Minister of India, she visited Bex, and in particular the Pelouse, in 1981, in memory of that happy time. Received with all the honours due to her, the event is attested to by numerous photographs which the sisters carefully preserve and by a Himalayan pine tree planted in memory (commemorative plaque under the tree on the left of the main building). Bought by the Sisters of Saint-Maurice, the Pelouse (with a total surface area of 123,700 m2) still has - even though it has been extensively remodelled - the Great House of the Louguinines. Inside, there is a magnificent library which can be attributed to the Held company of Montreux. The former laboratory of Wladimir Louguinine has been transformed into a chapel. The Pelouse is now the Centre romand de pastorale liturgique. The place also welcomes people on retreat and groups. The chapel was transformed in 2012 by the Parisian architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul. It offers a magnificent simplicity and luminous sobriety. The side windows were made in 1963 by Emma Ségur Dalloni. Glassmaker: P. Chiara & Cie, vitraux d'art, Lausanne. The large glass window in the gallery dates from 1967 and is the work of the famous YOKI (Aebischer). Glassmaker: Vitraux Kirch Fribourg. These stained-glass windows bring an incomparable touch of colour and light. Sources: P.-Y. Favez, F. Gerber, Gens de Bex, Cercle Vaudois de Généalogie, Lausanne, 2003. I. Ackermann, Grand Chêne, Bex, Historical and architectural study, February 2002. Archives of the Sisters of Saint-Maurice, La Pelouse, Bex.

The Parc de la Pelouse and the convent's chapel can be visited, with respect for the site.

The top of the Chiètres hill is mainly occupied by two large 19th century estates, the Grand Chêne - currently privately owned - and the Pelouse.

In the 19th century, the Grand Chêne and the Pelouse were the most opulent properties in Bex. The Pelouse was acquired by a Russian nobleman in 1886, who designed the park. From 1919 to 1946, the estate became a boarding school for young girls; Indira Gandhi, who later became Prime Minister of India, attended the school. The property now houses the convent of the Sisters of Saint Maurice, built in 1962 in a decidedly "functional" style. The Grand Chêne estate was bought between 1872 and 1874 by Maria del Carmen de Huici. This wealthy Chilean citizen, seduced by the natural beauty and charm of the hillside, had a new house built to replace an old farmhouse, probably the present mansion, which still bears the name Grand Chêne. The building has an imposing volume, with a hipped roof covered with slates. The facade is simple and elegant, in the classical tradition, with dormer windows arranged symmetrically around the entrance. The material of the frames is granite, characteristic of the period of its construction. Inside, the marble fireplace in the living room and the moulded decorations give it an air of nobility. Maria del Carmen de Huici sold her house in 1884 to Nicolas Sterchbaschoff (a retired Russian artillery captain) who remained the owner until his death in 1894. In 1901, the Grand Chêne became part of the La Pelouse estate when Marthe Louguinine bought it and had major work carried out in 1908 and 1909. The other part of the hill, to the west, is occupied by La Pelouse, bought in 1880 by Wladimir Louguinine, a Russian nobleman, a renowned scientist and chemist with a passion for botany. It is to him that we owe the magnificent trees that occupy the entire property: cedars of Lebanon, Himalayan cedars, Weymouth pines, redwoods, ginkos and a magnificent chestnut grove that is still exploited by the sisters today. The entire park is still carefully tended by the religious community, which also grows flowers and vegetables using organic farming methods. In addition to a dwelling house and farm buildings, Wladimir Luginin had a laboratory built where he continued his research. He died in 1911. With the war and the Russian Revolution, his widow, dispossessed of her land in her country of origin - including a large area in the Caucasus - had to give up the property. It passed through various hands and was rented to Lydie Hemmerlin (1874-1974) who set up a private boarding school, the Ecole Nouvelle (1919-1946). Among the pupils was a young Indian girl named Indira Gandhi (daughter of Pandit Nehru). When she became Prime Minister of India, she visited Bex, and in particular the Pelouse, in 1981, in memory of that happy time. Received with all the honours due to her, the event is attested to by numerous photographs which the sisters carefully preserve and by a Himalayan pine tree planted in memory (commemorative plaque under the tree on the left of the main building). Bought by the Sisters of Saint-Maurice, the Pelouse (with a total surface area of 123,700 m2) still has - even though it has been extensively remodelled - the Great House of the Louguinines. Inside, there is a magnificent library which can be attributed to the Held company of Montreux. The former laboratory of Wladimir Louguinine has been transformed into a chapel. The Pelouse is now the Centre romand de pastorale liturgique. The place also welcomes people on retreat and groups. The chapel was transformed in 2012 by the Parisian architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul. It offers a magnificent simplicity and luminous sobriety. The side windows were made in 1963 by Emma Ségur Dalloni. Glassmaker: P. Chiara & Cie, vitraux d'art, Lausanne. The large glass window in the gallery dates from 1967 and is the work of the famous YOKI (Aebischer). Glassmaker: Vitraux Kirch Fribourg. These stained-glass windows bring an incomparable touch of colour and light. Sources: P.-Y. Favez, F. Gerber, Gens de Bex, Cercle Vaudois de Généalogie, Lausanne, 2003. I. Ackermann, Grand Chêne, Bex, Historical and architectural study, February 2002. Archives of the Sisters of Saint-Maurice, La Pelouse, Bex.

The Parc de la Pelouse and the convent's chapel can be visited, with respect for the site.

Location
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